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Monday, June 6, 2011

Lack of Aggression is Not Necessarily Pacifism

In, "Burying their weapons of war: The example of the Ammonites" in Mormon Times, Emily W. Jensen suggests some interpretations for the relevant scripture (Alma 24). I like the following:
And Elder L. Tom Perry recently said, “While the message of the story is not to insist on universal pacifism, we do learn that by not returning aggressions from others we can have a profound effect on them. Literally, we can change their hearts when we follow Christ’s example and turn the other cheek. Our examples as peaceable followers of Christ inspire others to follow him.”
I can't find the site for Perry's quote off-hand. I'll have to dig a little further for it. I've never liked regarding the story as endorsing "universal pacifism" because the Ammonites voluntarily produced abundant supplies for the Nephite army though they did not fight in it. Later, they sent their sons to fight who had not taken the oath to never wield weapons again.


But it is true that you can deescalate aggression by not responding with aggression, and that is a message for us all.

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